I know this post might seem like it’s about basketball, but it’s actually about having all of your dreams come true. Like magic!
I have had a recurring fantasy since about 1992 when I fell in love with Mark Price.
The Cavs are in trouble.
It’s an important playoff game and our backs are against the wall.
I haven’t played all season.
No one knows how dangerous I am… only the coach.
I come off the bench and the opposing team is completely unaware that they should be guarding me.
It is a fantasy but there are limits to the capacity of my imagination. I know that — even though I am somehow on a professional basketball team in this dream — I am no athlete, no big muscles and springing tiger power at least. I can’t dunk through an All-Star power forward… I am a skill player.
I can come off the bench…
exploit the fact that the opposition is leaving me open around the arc…
and I can nail a thousand threes.
This has been my personal dream for over fifteen years. I think about it in quiet moments and it makes me smile. THOUGHT about it anyway…
Because dreams and fantasies cease to be dreams and fantasies when they come true.
The problem is that I never got to live those thousand threes.
On the bright side, essentially my wilded fantasy actually happened! Just not to me.
In the 2007 Eastern Conference Championships, LeBron James played the greatest game of his career in Game Five. The Cavs should have won the first game but a blatant no-call on Rasheed Wallace generated a four-point swing in the closing minutes of the game that sent the first dubya to the Detroit Pistons, NBA Champions only a couple of years back.
The Cavs lost the second game, too, before sending the series to Cleveland, where the good guys successfully defended their home court in successive contests.
With a pair of wins under their collective belts, the Cavaliers returned to the Palace at Auburn Hills, where LeBron James showed us — for the first time in a key playoff game — why he is the one true successor to Michael Jordan. LeBron single-handedly defeated the best defensive team in the NBA, producing the last 25 points for the Cavs in a double-overtime thriller. LeBron scored almost at will, finding his way to the basket with five Pistons draped across his back.
With [possibly] two games to go, the series returned to Cleveland.
Detroit, at this point considered the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the squad who had sent the Cavaliers packing out of the playoffs twelve months earlier, were a defensive powerhouse; they were not about to allow LeBron to make them look like children wrapped in toilet paper a second time.
Detroit decided they were going to make “someone else” beat them.
Daniel Gibson was that someone else.
A rookie second round draft pick who had seen minimal playing time to this point, Gibson came off the bench in Game Six and did a number on the Pistons like the second coming of… well… LeBron James from Game Five. Just as King James had played like Jordan in the previous contest, Boobie showed them a glimpse of sharpshooter Larry Bird.
Unstoppable offense from an unsung bench player.
A thousand threes.
I was with my old crew at the time. In a bar eating french fries and chicken fingers with the original Team Discovery Channel compadres the amazing altran, Tuna Hwa, and Jeff Wu when Daniel Gibson officially became the boy of my dreams. Tuna, a sports fan’s sports fan (and on this day also the birthday boy), summed Gibson up pretty well. “Fearless… That kid has ice water in his veins.” Daniel challenged a basket defended oak trees in blue jerseys; every time he stepped behind the arc, it was a dagger to a Pistons fan’s throat.
Gibson showed the world his sweet jumper during All-Star Weekend last year, shattering the previous record with eleven three-pointers and MVP honors in the rookie game (a nice compliment to LeBron’s All-Star MVP a night later); but Cavaliers fans are waiting for the sharpshooter from Game Six to equal that performance in a big playoff game.
There are a bunch of videos on YouTube about Gibson’s big game claim to fame. I thought this one was pretty cool, and I hope you can see why and how he became the boy of my dreams.